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that he had carried away the palm from all his competitors; and that he had secured from his contemporaries the respect that was due to manly exertion, conspicuous skill, and well-trained strength.

Now these games were all celebrated within a. short distance of that city, to the inhabitants of which the great Apostle of the Gentiles addressed two Epistles. One of them in particular took place on the Isthmus adjoining Corinth, was held under its auspices, and was at once a source of pride and emulation to its citizens.

The Apostle was well aware of the interest, which the Isthmian games excited in the minds of all the inhabitants of Greece, but more especially the Corinthians; and, with that happy mixture of judgement and of zeal which characterizes his writings, he availed himself of the popular feeling to compare the ardour displayed in pursuit of an object, inconsiderable in price and brief in continuance, with that, which should be excited for the attainment of one incalculable in value and eternal in duration. He points out also to their attention another feature in these arduous contests. He reminds them that, in spite of all their previous discipline, and all their courageous exertions, still all the combatants, but one, must fail of

One only could obtain the prize, for which so many were contending. Widely different is the result of that contest, in which the pious Christian mingles for the high prize of Salvation.

, There, every one, who makes the requisite exertion; who submits to the previous training; has an opportunity of gaining the reward for which he strives. Incal


culable as is, or ought to be, the number of those, who look forward to the imperishable distinctions of a future world ; widely as their capacities may differ ; far as their conditions of life may be removed from each other; yet, if they be duly impressed with the magnitude of the recompense, and anxious to deserve it, a glorious triumph will not fail to crown the wishes of each individual. Not one alone of these Christian champions, but all may win the prize-a prize the more valuable, as the contest is more truly honourable. “ Know ye not that they, which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ?" Are ye not aware that, in those celebrated contests, which awaken your sympathy, if they do not actually exercise your individual strength, all must run in the race; though one only can receive the garland, which adorns the brow of the conqueror ? With Christians, who are to run the race of godliness, looking onward to an, such is by no means the case. For every one, who is a competitor in the Christian course and who employs the appointed means, will be hailed as conqueror, and crowned with the wreath of victory. Surely, with such encouragement as this, when no disappointment will mock the hopes, with which a long period of previous discipline has been sustained, no exhortation can be wanted to induce you to propose yourselves as candidates for the prize, to omit no previous act of preparation, nor relax one effort in the race itself, which can contribute more effectually to the desired end.

- So run that ye may obtain.”

“ And every man,” continues the Apostle, “ that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. That is; Every one among you, who is animated with the hope of distinguishing himself in the public games, feels himself constrained to use all practicable means of preserving his body in complete health, and improving its tone and vigour. He therefore resigns the indulgences, to which he may himself have been accustomed, or in which other men are accustomed to delight. He bids adieu for a time to the comforts, and almost the necessaries of life, that he may devote himself unremittingly to the acquirement of habits and powers, essential to the object in view. What however is the object, pursued with such intense application, and by means so difficult and even painful? The Apostle does not fail to inform us; and in his comparison of the respective objects, prized by the man of religion and the man of this world, lies the great force of his argument. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

We may here observe that the introduction of allusions, borrowed from these celebrated games of Greece, is by no means confined to the passage before us, but that metaphors, derived from the same source, are found in many other parts of the Epistles—and we may add, that they not only give a life and grace to these compositions, but also strengthen the internal evidence to their authenticity by the use of imagery, which was likely to be so very familiar to writers of that age and of those countries. Figures of this kind are employed by the sacred penmen, either to illustrate the advantage and necessity of exertion in

order to ensure success in the contest; or to set forth the great excellency and desirableness of the prize. Of the former kind is that expression of pious hope in the Epistle to the Philippians, « That I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” So,

So, “ Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses ;"band, “ If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully;" C and in another noble passage, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Of the latter kind are the following. “ Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord' hath promised to them that love Him.” ¢ “ When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." Now this is precisely the “incorruptible crown" mentioned in the text; plainly alluding to the fading and perishable materials of which the wreaths were composed, that adorned the brow of the conqueror in the Olympic or Isthmian games. The same strain of metaphor is pursued in the Revelation ; “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of

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a Philipp. ii. 16.
d Philipp. iii. 13, 14.

b 1 Tim. vi. 12.

James, i. 12.

c 2 Tim. ii. 5. 11 Pet. v. 4.


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And once more,

“ Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy

' The force and propriety of these allusions cannot be so strongly felt by those, who live under institutions widely different; more especially those, who are unacquainted with the language in which the Apostle wrote. Nevertheless, we cannot be wholly insensible to the grace and vigour, which such expressions throw over these admirable Epistles. I shall therefore be pardoned, if I call your attention to one splendid passage, throughout which the leading ideas are borrowed from the concourse at antient spectacles ; from the speed displayed in the race, and from the victor's joy in gaining the well-earned prize. “ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily bese” (or rather, so greatly encumber)“ us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Having thus distinctly pointed to the source of the Apostle's allusion, and shewn how pertinently and energetically it is adopted in other passages of the Epistles, we are now prepared to illustrate yet further the reasoning in the text. I

propose therefore briefly to consider,

First, The various difficulties that are encountered,

a Rev. ii. 10.

b Rev. iii. 11.

c Heb. xii. 1, 2.

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